Cleared for Takeoff

Posted: July 26, 2010 in Life

After coming out of a two-week stupefaction which was instigated by an unexpected and highly unwelcome summer cold, you’ll understand that it took quite a while to get the engine running again.  And it didn’t happen before the motor coughed its guts out.   The idea of “living life” took a backseat to daytime TV (which, by the way, I don’t recommend. )

I remember just sitting there with the apple core in one hand and the TV remote in the other.  I was in my wife-beater t-shirt, hair all on end, with a runny nose, staring out of one pulsing “pink-eye” inflamed eyeball at the TV set, as the Fresh Prince joked with his unsmiling uncle about something-or-0ther.   I thought maybe I should change the channel or just shut it off.  Maybe I should put the now-brown apple core in the garbage.  Instead, I sat there, mouth half-open (otherwise I would have suffocated from the nasal impediment), and the apple core just dangled there, not quite leaving my lax fingers, while I endured the crappy laugh-track-enhanced comedy.  For a full twenty minutes.

The whole two weeks was a write-off.  I spent the time sleeping.  Or waking up in a panic, as my pillow suddenly got threatened by an end run from my nose.   I bought food and didn’t eat it.   The lazy-boy chair endured countless hours accommodating my zombie ass.  I’m telling you – I was freaking miserable.

I hadn’t been sick like this for…what was it?  Three years.  At least.  And the only thing I could think was “man, I really need a woman to take care of me right now.” 

That’s right. I said it.  

Eventually though – thank God – you come out of it.   Eventually you can taste stuff again.  Smell it.   The chirping of birds no longer annoys you.  You sort of like it.   The sun is no longer a hammer to your eyeballs.  Instead it’s pleasant.  Inviting.  And warm.

The night before the day I was to go back to work, there was one last nightmare.   I was back working in a factory, doing excruciatingly dull labour.  The bright glare of the unforgiving factory lights shone down on the bare metal of the car skeletons as they screeched their way slowly down the line.  Bright welding sparks burnt your retinas, throwing everything into a momentary carbon of reality: black was white, and vice versa, for only a moment.  The pounding of hammers thrummed in your ears, in counterpoint to the unending anxious wail of hydraulic lifts.   A cloud of dirt smudged the air, making it difficult though not impossible to find your way to wherever it was your were going.    

Frowning, I told my boss I was getting ready to throw up (I wasn’t) and that I had a bad headache (I didn’t).   I just wanted out of there.  Now.  And eventually, he agreed to let me go home.  It was basically a flash-back to so many days and nights in a car factory from years ago.  Everything was the same, and it was all serving to create a mental pain that was equal to the physical illness just recently endured. 

Upon waking, there was this sense of ambiguity:  thankfulness that it was all just a dream and I didn’t really work there anymore – and a painful awareness that I needed to be thankful for the relatively great job that I have now.  It was one of those “you know you should be thankful, right?” moments.   Where you know what’s right, but there’s a part of you that says “yabbut….”   Yes, this is a great job.  Yes, I don’t have to punch a clock.  Yes, I get to use my mind.  Yes…yes….yes…..

Still.   Peter Pan was insistent:  the nine-to-five deal is for other people.  Not us.  We need to fly out of here.  Create, sing, dance, write…

Last night, another dream clipped my consciousness.   It was another one of those flying dreams.   Where you have to get somewhere and the only way to do it is hold your breath, hold out your arms, wait for a slight breeze and…… lift off of the ground.   You know you can do it, too.  In the dream reality, you’ve done it many times before.  But it’s been a long time since you last dreamt this, so you know you’re out of practice.  (I suppose that’s it, too – you realize, in the middle of your dream, that you’ve dreamt this before.  Kind of odd, having that awareness in the middle of a dream).    So you try and you keep trying and eventually…your body rises and you find yourself awkwardly steering yourself in the right direction.

Before you know it, you’re skimming rooftops and meandering wherever your thoughts take you.   It’s invigorating, breathtaking, magical.

Upon waking, you understand the message of it, too.   In your religious days, you remember hearing the pastor quote a verse “all things are possible”.   The dream, and the morning sun proves the point: you only need to have the will.   

And this morning, this sunny Monday morning, you know it’s true. 

And your thoughts catch the air…..

  1. carmenlezeth says:

    Well, I’m sorry you were sick my Wolfie — but what a great couple of dreams. The past rememberance of a job not loved to remind you to be grateful and a flying dream to remind you there’s more for you to do, more for you to be — just believe in yourself. Aaaah, Thank you. I needed that this morning!

    Hugs – and if I was near, I’d be happy to take care of you. Ain’t nothing wrong with that! We all want to be taken care of….


    • You know something? If you were here, I would *totally* take you up on that too.

      When you’re sick, it’s so easy to let go of everything that’s important. Your focus narrows down to just your own physicality, and not much else. It’s why I hate getting sick, or even injuring myself – too much of a speedbump on the way to doing what I really want to do. You know what I mean? Like when you’re on the fourth or fifth week of a great exercise routine, really getting into the grove of it – and then all of a sudden you wrench your foot or something and you have to stay off of it for quite a while. Just ruins everything. Ugh.


  2. Douleur says:

    Well I can say that you stated it quite well…not like the babbling that normal comes from the male side when they are sick. Always heard that men are like children (aka babies) while in the depths of sickness. Just don’t pass it this way…*coughs*


    • I would say you heard right.

      If I had a female sidekick, there is no doubt she’d have been on the receiving end of my whining the last few weeks. No doubt about it. :)

      Mind you – if I had a broken arm or leg, or a major cut or burn or something, it would be a different story. The game changes when that happens, and us guys put up a strong “I can take it” front. We’re pretty awesome that way.

      I don’t know why there’s such a difference.


      • Douleur says:

        It’s because society drills it into your heads that you must be! must be strong during times of weakness…but the littlest cold brings you to your knees..and you stubbornly refuse any medicinal purposes..why is this? That is the unknown answer that all women seek. That and how to find the best pair of shoes.


  3. Abe's Blog says:

    It’s funny–when I get sick, I want my wife to pat me and bring me water and scratch my head. (Meow?) But when she gets sick, she wants me to get out of her face. I’ve learned to stay away from her, but I haven’t quite trained her that she is required to scratch my head through my entire sickness. Still working on that.


    • That difference between you is hilarious. Good luck with the training, Abe. It takes a while but it is so worth it when they finally get it right.


      • Abe's Blog says:

        Yeah, we are alike in some ways, but totally different in others. For instance, she says To-May-to, and I say To-Mah-To…just kidding. But I think we compliment each other…it’ll be better when she’s trained up, though.


  4. Kungfoofyter says:

    LOVE IT!! Just my kind of piece! I especially love how the last 2 lines tie it together! So funny and amazing when we ‘know’ in a way that words can’t quite explain except through the experience of what it feels like to just know. Knowing in an undeniable, beyond faith kind of way, it seems is the wind to our flight. Hm.
    Thanks for sharing Cleared for Takeoff with us!


    • I like how you put it: “knowing in an undeniable, beyond faith kind of way”. That’s it, exactly. A certainty beyond the strain of the attempt to believe. A solid “this is it” kind of mentality, where anything less just doesn’t seem possible. Or likely.

      That was the context of the dream as well. It wasn’t that there was no room for doubt; it was that doubt just didn’t exist as a possibility.


  5. Chickee says:

    Peter Pan is my Hero!!! =P there will ALWAYS be a bit of his childish-ness inside of me and I am proud of that. =)

    It is a proven fact that men are pussies when it comes to being sick. =P They want to be comforted and waited on….. oh wait that’s everyday not just sick days. hehehe!!

    There is nothing worse than a Summer cold, except for a Winer flu or Spring fever or and Autumn chill… Well Spring fever is pretty sweet, it makes me giddy. =)

    I am glad you are better now. =)


    • Peter Pan rocks! I think that’s part of the reason I love the book “Jitterbug Perfume” so much as well. That same mentality exists in the characters there, too. Someone I love very much said something interesting yesterday (and I’m paraphrasing here): if you go back to what you were like as a small child, before reason and responsibility and the gravity of life hit you, you’re looking at the core of who you are. There’s nothing wrong (and everything right) with getting back to that core.

      I make no apologies for being a suck when I’m sick. *grin* It’s part of my ridiculous charm.


  6. JustKate says:

    When my husband is sick he becomes another person entirely. He cocoons himself in bed, acts like he’s dying if he has to get up for anything, and MUST be taken care of. Me, on the other hand, I just keep going and going and going. I have kids and animals to take care of. I can’t “call in sick” like he does. The show MUST go on. So, I take care of my man-become-little boy when he’s sick and I tough it out on my own when I’m sick. The truth is that it doesn’t bother me. I count myself blessed indeed to have someone to take care of!


    • *laughing*

      I’ll bet you if he accidently lopped off a finger though he’d shrug it off as a flesh wound and carry on without complaining. It would, in fact, become a mark of pride for him. I’ll bet you! Go ahead and ask him – I’ll wait.



  7. suzrocks says:

    I’ve been MIA a lot lately due to migraines & stuff. I’m sorry you’ve been sick. It hasn’t been a picnic for either of us lately  I have never had a dream about flying. They have several meanings, or so I have read. I think I would enjoy the dream. I’m kinda jealous. I think there are some deep meanings to your other dream too. I’m no dream interpreter but I do think that 9 out of 10 times things are symbolic and not to be taken as they are seen. The old job may have stood for something else, or maybe it was just face value… to remind you of what’s good now. I tend to dream crazy when I’m ill too. No matter what, you closed this piece perfectly and I suspect you are more capable than anyone of drawing your own conclusion to the meaning behind it all. Missed you. XOXO


    • You’re sorry I’ve been sick? *deep breath* Thank you.

      You see? *THAT’S* what I’ve been missing and needed to hear! Thank you! :) That’s all I was after. Just a bit of warm female sympathy. That hit the spot. *smiling*

      I’ve been told that the flying dream was what they call a “lucid dream” – in that there’s awareness first of all that it’s a dream *while in the dream state*, and that I’ve been in that place before. Which I have. The dream seemed so real, so matter-of-fact. Everyone could fly, if they wanted to, in that reality.

      Waking up wasn’t much of a let down either. That sense of “anything is possible” stayed with me for the longest time after that.

      Contrast that to the dream about the old job – upon waking up, I felt pretty cold. Like I hadn’t been thankful enough for the job I have now. It bugged me for days.

      You know how, when you’re having, for example, a bad migraine. And someone comes along and says “well at least you’re not a paraplegic”. And you think to yourself “well, they’re right”. But there’s just something about that logic that gnaws at you, like you’re not worthy enough to complain.

      And you’d *like* to tell the person who gave you the advice to go fuck themselves, but you’re not sure how to go about doing it, without looking ungrateful, or being thought of as a whiner. That’s how the first dream hit me.

      By the way – you know that I know about migraines. I am *very* sorry to hear you’ve been having them. They just suck the life out of you, and worse – they interrupt you when you want to be busy with stuff that’s important to you. Such a drag.


      • P.S. I really missed you too Suz! Big time. :)


        • suzrocks says:

          PS I did a fun little fiction piece w/a friend on myspace you might enjoy if you have time. I think you’ll like him too. I have missed you bunches. I’ve had a lot on my plate with the oil spill situation and feeling pretty alone as far as trying to fight the good fight and spread the word around here. I think a lot of people here are just feeling broken since Katrina and I’m trying to get them into battle. Still thinking maybe you might just want to take me in? I’d give you lots of sympathy whenever you were feeling down ;)


          • You need to come to Toronto, stat! :) I can handle all the sympathy you can throw at me, too. :)

            Haven’t been on Myspace much, except to drop the odd note in there about blogs that I’ve written (and there haven’t been many of those lately, for obvious reasons). I’ll have to stop over and take a look at your work.


      • suzrocks says:

        A lot of people don’t grasp migraines if they don’t get ’em. It’s hard. Like you, sometimes i just want a little sympathy. I haven’t achieved much lately due to this and I guess from the outside it just looks like an excuse. It’s frustrating. That being said, I’m surprised I haven’t had dreams similar to yours about work. I have heard that the flying dreams are ‘lucid’. That’s something I just don’t grasp really. The lucid thing I mean. But, I do usually recognize that I am dreaming while I am dreaming…lol.


        • I just did a small bit of research about lucid dreaming. If you usually recognize that you’re dreaming, then (according to you are experiencing lucid dreams. Of those, there are two types: the kind you can’t control, and the kind that you can. I’d like to have that second option, frankly. It’s pretty cool.

          When I first had migraines (in my early 20’s) I didn’t know they were migraines – I though they were just extremely bad headaches. So of course my boss at work had little sympathy when I told him I needed to go home one day. The pain was just that bad – I was going nuts with it. He grumbled and eventually let me go, which was just as well, because I ended up getting violently ill with it. So glad those days are long gone. Still get them, but never that severe anymore. *knocks on wood*


  8. Just Me says:

    Since I’m close to Toronto I could have taken care of you………….but that’s not quite what you were looking for now is it, haha. Glad you’re feeling better now though. As long as you can take something good away from it, it’s never a bad thing. And you seem to have no problems doing that.


  9. How very inspiring!! (that sounds very British and daft, but I mean it =) Dreams can help us understand so much, but I’m still pondering on last night’s…


    • Glad it spoke to you.

      So….you had a dream? Care to share? :)


      • I dreamt about a personal development leader – I dreamt that said leader died. Now I used to look up to this person, especially because the knowledge they have is phenomenal. I could never quite come to terms though that whilst they were making money, people were working for free for them and whilst what they taught were great, people would have needed a lot more coaching to reach their goals. I also felt that personal development should be less pricey and perhaps that even though the knowledge was absolutely mind blowing, the people that taught it might not quite embody the values they taught (they knew it intellectually, but maybe they didn’t really get it on all levels and their lives were sort of reflecting this). It’s also clever sales to make someone a rock star, or a guru, but that’s not personal development, that’s sales. That’s ego. That’s…not right.

        I realized that this dream was a metaphor for some of the people in my life – I look up to them, I want their praise, I work hard for them, I feel I need them, even if I know that what they are doing is not quite right. Give unconditional love, don’t stay in unconditional relationships. Dare to be your own leader.

        I also believe that I felt I couldn’t coach people because I am still learning myself. But at least I am learning and I confess to that. I can help people move forward. I don’t have to think that someone else is better than me just because that they only show their good side in public.


        • I think you’ve clearly shown the dichotomy of the personal development industry and reality. A lot of successful people have just simply watched how others practice their art, or their sales techniques or whatever, and have made appropriate adjustments to mimick them.

          As an example: I’ve had countless acting teachers describe how best to do scenes, what memories to use, etc. etc. And yet – I look at one of the most successful actors – Anthony Hopkins – and listen as he talks about just plunking himself down, without any kind of appreciable preparation – and just doing the scene. Period. (Not sure where I saw his interview, whether it was on “The Actor’s Studio” or somewhere else.)

          This tells me a few things. One of them is that there is no guaranteed “tried and true” approach, because we aren’t carbon copies of each other. For every actor, a method. Or not.

          I’m guessing this holds true in a lot of other areas. A man I greatly respect and admire once said “the more I understand about life, the more I really just how little I really know.” That’s a humble statement, yet it has an astounding ring of truth to it.


          • I have a lot of respect for the personal development leaders that I have met in the sense that their knowledge is phenomenal and it has changed my life in so many ways. I just feel that the way they sell it and market themselves is wrong. That’s not all of them though – some are very, very good friends of mine too.

            I went through five years of vigorous training to become an Actor and I must say the technique, the science of acting (there is a book out by Sam Kogan), is unrivaled from what I have seen. That is not to say though, that other techniques don’t give you ideas. I also believe that the longer you practice analyzing plays, creating characters, creating pictures in your mind for the characters, training your imagination to bring in the imagined surroundings, etc. the quicker you can do a generalized impression of a character. Some famous Actors are absolute crap. What they can do though, is move in front of a camera without making too big gestures, or too extreme facial expressions. There is a brilliant video with Michael Caine on this from the 80s I believe. I

            Once upon a time the Earth was flat. Now we know it isn’t. We are constantly learning. I mean quantum physics…hello! I do believe though, that most of what science uncovers we already know on some level inside ourselves.

            Oh, when I was really down and out last fall I gave up one night, I told God to please help me and clearly I knew nothing, Funnily enough I became very confident after that because at least I knew one thing… I used to be so attached to proving my beliefs right, constantly fearing I wouldn’t achieve what I had set out to do.

            The other day I realized I was still fighting to understand love. I had to give up on that one too. I have many theories about different kinds of love and relationships that I believe are true, but that’s not all there is to it and I can’t always see reality for what it is and make sense of it whilst things are happening..


  10. contoveros says:

    Glad to see the engine is up and running again. We all need the downtime to re-energize.

    Now, as far as those dreams go, I don’t know about flying . . . you may want to check with what some psychologist might think it means.

    Me. I dream of deadlines. Newspaper deadlines, but I have no stories to turn it at press time. I’ve already “put to bed” a post on my Blog, and I’m just coasting, waiting to pick up my check which never gets mailed to me.

    Feel as if I was getting cheating when no checks arrives in the mail.

    Dream away. See you later.

    michael j


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